By Mike Stackhouse
Photo – Courtesy Broad Leaf Media
Melfort Mustangs captain Carson Albrecht (Martensville SK) has committed to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks for this Fall, joining one of the top NCAA hockey programs in the United States.
Albrecht, who is a finalist for the SJHL Player Of The Year Award, is amongst the league’s leading scorers this season and is known, also, for his defensive game. It’s believed North Dakota was attracted to his skating ability first and foremost. Ordinarily, the Fighting Hawks are looking for Junior ‘A’ players who are excellent skaters, who also use their smarts and vision to their advantage, and show cutting edge competitiveness. Albrecht should have the ability to combine his skating and two-way responsibility into translatable habits at the next level.
Mustangs Head Coach Trevor Blevins agrees. “When I look at Carson and what he brings to the table on the ice, he’s a 200 foot player. He kills penalties, scores goals, is depended on defensively and yet when an offensive situation comes up, he is our top centreman there too. He can play anywhere in a line-up at the next level, and I think that’s what North Dakota is seeing too,” says Blevins. “I see a lot of responsibility in his game and a compete level that sets him apart from other candidates North Dakota may have been looking at. The fact he can put up elite offensive numbers and still play a fully complete game at both ends of the ice is impressive. He plays the game the right way.”
“Carson is a respectful person. I haven’t heard a negative word in three years,” adds Blevins. “He volunteers at school twice a week, helps minor hockey twice a week. When there is an organization in town needing help, Carson is the first to raise his hand. Right from day one when he arrived here three years ago, he’s been a leader. You watch him play and he does exactly what you are supposed to do each and every day. He’s in the gym, he is looked up to by his peers in hard situations and is counted on by everybody. He’s what a captain should be.”
Blevins credits the recent SJHL-MJHL Showcase as being a major factor in helping Albrecht (and others) get noticed. “We’ve had two or three schools in the crowd every night since the Showcase ended. What I’ve noticed is that the scouts want to talk to me about players on the other teams even though that’s not why they made the decision to come to our games.”
In talking with Albrecht, it would appear the SJHL-MJHL Showcase is, in fact, the big reason for North Dakota’s discovery. “They started talking to me shortly after the Showcase and said I had an excellent showing there and a great year overall. They said they liked that I worked and compete hard, make plays and play good defensively. I’m super excited and it’s a big achievement for me. They are a successful hockey program with a great fan base and an unbelievable playing facility. To be able to play with this organization is, simply, amazing.”
Not that Albrecht needed any extra motivation, but having his parents in the seats have helped drive him throughout his young hockey career to date. “They watch every game they can and that’s pushed me to make them proud.”
Albrecht is known to be interested in Biochemistry, academically, but will take Biology at UND.
Albrecht is the first SJHL forward, of note, to get a scholarship to North Dakota since Weyburn’s Coltyn Sanderson (Moose Jaw SK) committed prior to the 2012-13 season. Before that, Notre Dame Hound Rylan Kaip (Radville SK) was the last known SJHLer to play, significantly, for the Fighting Hawks. He joined North Dakota for 2004-05 and was their captain in 2007-08 (a team that was led, offensively, by TJ Oshie). One time Humboldt Bronco goalie Graeme Harrington and ex-Flin Flon Bomber defenseman Danys Chartrand also have ties to North Dakota within the last ten years. Defenseman Josh Rieger (Estevan) is in his second year at North Dakota. Goalie Matt Hrynkiw (Humboldt) is the school’s Goalie Coach.